A meniscus tear refers to an injury of the semilunar cartilage that serves as a shock absorber and weight distributor between the femur and tibia. Each knee joint has two menisci, which can be damaged during sports, activities or accidents in which there is too much pressure on the knee joint. Patients who suffer from osteoarthritis are generally at greater risk of tearing their meniscus, as the cartilage becomes weaker with degeneration. Meniscal tears are commonly occurs during injuries of the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments.
In cases where a meniscus tear may require surgical repair, Dr Marais will perform a thorough examination of the knee to assess the extent of the damage. In most cases, he will perform some imaging tests such as x-ray to determine any other underlying causes of knee pain, as well as an MRI. An MRI will allow Dr Marais to view any tears in the cartilage and ligaments.
Before repairing the tear, Dr Marais may perform knee arthroscopy in order to confirm the diagnosis. During the procedure, Dr Marais will insert an arthroscope into your joint through a small incision in the skin. The instrument has a tiny camera attached to it, and images of the joints are transmitted to a monitor.
If Dr Marais is able to view a tear that requires repair, he will perform the procedure arthroscopically, which is a much less invasive technique than traditional open surgery, and typically allows for a quicker recovery time and less pain post-surgery.
He will make a small incision in your knee, through which he will insert small surgical tools. He will then remove any damaged meniscus and repair any damaged areas that can be saved.
After the surgery, Dr Marais will advise you on the best rehabilitation plan, which may include physical therapy, and some lifestyle changes.